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Dilbert Goes Flash, Readers Revolt 486

Posted by timothy
from the please-please-please-mr.-adams-pleeaaaase-no dept.
spagiola writes "The Dilbert.com website just got an extreme makeover. Gone is the old, rather clunky but perfectly functional, website, replaced by a Flash-heavy website that only Mordac the Preventer of Information Services could love. Users have been pretty unanimous in condemning the changes. Among the politer comments: 'Congrats. Vista is no more lonely at the top in the Competition For The Worst Upgrade In Computing Industry, this web site upgrade being a serious contender.' You have to register to leave comments, but many seem to have registered for the express purpose of panning the new design."
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Dilbert Goes Flash, Readers Revolt

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  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:07PM (#23129382) Journal

    "You have to register to leave comments, but many seem to have registered for the express purpose of panning the new design."
    I know some PHBs that would consider the boom in registrations as a positive thing.
    • Re:Heh (Score:5, Funny)

      by me at werk (836328) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:13PM (#23129438) Homepage Journal
      "some" meaning "all"
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Devv (992734)
      "I know some PHBs that would consider the boom in registrations as a positive thing."

      Since we changed the interface our website has become 1051% more popular. It's sticking.
    • Re:Heh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Chapter80 (926879) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:58PM (#23129800)
      Pure genius!

      Only Scott Adams could come up with such a great parody. That's one way to get your cartoon talked about - screw it up in a way that only a PHB would love. Get on the front page of Slashdot. Energize your audience!

  • by Pinckney (1098477) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:09PM (#23129388)
    Clearly, there is some flash on the site, but I can still view all the comics without it.
  • Deleted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xenographic (557057) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:10PM (#23129402) Homepage Journal
    I have flashblock and noscript up. I tried temporarily allowing just a few things to let me view the site, but when that didn't work, I gave up and deleted Dilbert from my bookmarks.

    It's funny, but it's not worth it. He also has an irrational love of Microsoft at times, such as when he thought that Bill Gates would make a good president.

    Because, you know, it's not like the rest of the world minds having the USA push them around. And it's not like Bill is known for being good at that kind of business, or anything like that...

    Suffice it to say, I didn't feel like it was worth the bother to continue reading it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) *
      I assume your using FF. Same problem for me. No matter what I disable (flashblock, Adblock plus, greasemonkey, Noscripts) I just get a comforting white page. It works in Safari but what a total throwback to 2000.

      Not worth it....

      • Well, now it's showing me the "Download the Dilbert Widget" gif and helpfully offers to let me register. Progress!
    • by jlarocco (851450)

      Did it get reverted back or something?

      I don't understand the outrage. For comparison, this [jlarocco.com] is what it looks like for me.

      • Re:Deleted (Score:4, Informative)

        by frdmfghtr (603968) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:46PM (#23129732)

        Did it get reverted back or something?

        I don't understand the outrage. For comparison, this [jlarocco.com] is what it looks like for me.
        Same here...I have Firefox on a mac with Adblock Plus and Noscript active, and I can read the site just fine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by barzok (26681)
      Bookmarks? Who bookmarks a site like Dilbert? Just subscribe to the RSS. No ads, no messing with the site, all you get is the strip.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:11PM (#23129406)
    This seems to be universal among web designers. They just aren't happy unless they're redesigning something to make it more complicated and less likely to work.

    My award for "sticking with what works" goes to craigslist.org.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Indeed; I can't stomach the website of Toys for Bob, and rely on other people to give me info about their latest works. Stop using flash for your entire site, people.
    • by CajunArson (465943) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:28PM (#23129558) Journal
      s/web designers/designers/g

      Wisdom is knowing when to rip out the kludge, and knowing when it isn't really a kludge and to leave it the #$@# alone.
    • by MindStalker (22827) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .reklatsdnim.> on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:39PM (#23129666) Journal
      As a web programmer I'd say its that managers can't stop demanding new features. I spent half my time trying to talk people out of features my job would be so much easier if I just relented....
      • by hey! (33014) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @06:30PM (#23130450) Homepage Journal
        Most people are quite aware that being able to tell a piece of music is snappy doesn't mean they can write a hit song. But somehow the distinction between experiencing excellence and producing it is lost on people when it comes to design.

        Designing something is deceptively simple. Maybe it is simple, and that's what makes it hard. It's easy to do something bad, and hard to recognize something bad when it comes out of your self.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mysqlrocks (783488)

      This seems to be universal among web designers. They just aren't happy unless they're redesigning something to make it more complicated and less likely to work.

      Hey, don't lump all web designers together. At our studio our focus is on standards-based design - valid XHTML combined with CSS for design and unobtrusive JavaScript (via jQuery) for behavior. We avoid Flash at all costs, not because we can't use it, but because it's non-standard and almost everything people use Flash for can be done using XHTML +

    • by linzeal (197905) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:00PM (#23129806) Homepage Journal
      Look at this site, the reply to this buttons replaced a perfectly useful reply text link. Now the pages are 10% longer than they used to be and take forever to scroll on small screens. Since the change I have been coming to Slashdot maybe 10% of the time I used to. Does anyone know how to get the old slashdot back?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      They just aren't happy unless they're redesigning something to make it more complicated and less likely to work.

      New PHB managers always want to "make their mark" by making changes. I'll bet that's what is going on. The act of changing stuff is more important to them than the merit of it. It's like a wolf pissing on a log to mark its territory. We're seeing e-piss here.
             
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:11PM (#23129408)
    Am I the only one who thinks Dilbert stopped being funny back in the 1990s? The last collection I enjoyed was Bring Me the Head of Willy the Mailboy [amazon.com] . Since then, Adams has just been going over and over the same handful of gags. And even though corporate culture in America may have changed to some extent, the Dilbert office seems the same early '90s environment that inspired him to turn the strip towards a parody of office life.
    • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

      No, you're not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, that is when he stopped working in an actual office, isn't it? Should we be surprised that he doesn't have new office ideas to use?
    • by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:36PM (#23129640)
      Since then, Adams has just been going over and over the same handful of gags

      That's OK, it's just a genreational change.

      Each generation is arrogant enough to ignore the collected wisdom of what's gone before, so it makes the same old mistakes. Hence Dilbert is just as popular with the new "breed" of readers as it was with the last lot. The reason is they get just as frustrated with the same bosses making the same mistakes as their forebears. No doubt in 100 years time, people will still be grousing about the incompetence of their superiors and Scott Adams, or his grandchildren, will still be making money out of it.

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:56PM (#23130178) Journal
      Actually, in a lot of places the office life is much the same. And, trust me, not only in the USA.

      As a consultant, I can tell you that some of the projects I'm dragged into, the things I see, and the things I piece together, often make Dilbert look tame. At any rate, I see everything from Dilbert:

      - Wally clones? Check. Armies of them.

      One managed to work for 3 years to make a trivial module, that later someone else rewrote in 6 hours from scratch. The rewrite was also 40 times faster, when benchmarked on a large-ish data set. And that's just one of them. He also heavily obfuscated his code, with over half the techniques from "How To Write Unmaintainable Code." (If you can believe that variable names like Pete, Eve and Steve are anything else, I have a bridge in Sahara to sell. And that's just one of the dozens of sins of that code.)

      I've also seen people whose day consists at least half, of doing the grand tour of all floors where they know someone, to find people to talk to. Probably the saddest case was one whose morning, from 9 to 12 consisted of making a list of what pizza each team member wants to order for noon. Now you're probably going, "wtf, that doesn't take 3 hours even for 100 people." Well, let me explain: not just going around and quickly noting what they want. He went and started a whole debate on the pros and contras of ordering a Calzone, or maybe a Quatro Stagioni this time. And, hey, did you see that today they have a special price for Pizza Margarita? With each and every person individually.

      - Evil secretaries? Check. E.g., in one project they lost their best programmer, a contractor, when the secretary at the company that supplied him, cancelled his medical insurance just before his wife went into labour. Apparently, for no reason whatsoever, she just called the insurance company and said that he's getting a private insurance somewhere else. The guy understandably went "fuck you very much" and quit.

      From what I hear, it was also quite the uphill battle to get her to do anything, including actually get the overtime paid that the client had already paid for.

      Last I've heard, she got a promotion.

      - Mordac The Preventer Of IT Services? Check. At times it feels like one in 3 guys in IT make it their goal in life to prevent everyone else from getting their job done.

      A particular one, well, wasn't even consistent about what he wanted, except that it's the opposite of what you want. To one team and project it was "you're not getting queues unless they're all on the same queue manager", to another one in the same time interval it was "you're not getting queues unless they're on different queue managers". To one it was "you're not getting anything if you work with message timeouts, because it defeats the whole idea behind reliable messaging!", while to another one it was "you're not getting queues from me unless you set timeouts on the messages! I don't want you to fill the whole partition with old messages!" Etc.

      One DBA argued that it's not his job to tune the production database.

      And it doesn't seem to be entirely unheard of, that some company's internal IT department sets such outrageous prices for any service, that it would be cheaper to burn a large file on a CD and send it by _taxi_ to the other end of the country, than to use their network and their servers. In one place management was actually proud that their IT department is the most productive department in the company and makes the biggest profits. As if that's something positive, and not an undue burden on the other departments.

      - Incompetent managers and incompetent management decisions? Oooer. I could fill a tome with those alone. But let's just say: some managers were keeping the above parasites employed. It's not even the biggest management sin I've seen, but it's enough to make me wonder, you know?

      Etc, etc, etc.

      Basically I'm talking a guess that all that changed there is that you got a new job sometime in the 90's, where that doesn't happen any more.
  • by conner_bw (120497) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:11PM (#23129414) Homepage Journal
    What's up with all the ajax and interface changes creeping in on slashdot ?
    • Cowboys will be cowboys.
    • I love them.

      If only they fixed the bug that happens when you moderate, then you try to comment, the dialog warns you that the moderation you did it will be undone and you can't get out of there....
  • No Linux? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mce (509) * on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:12PM (#23129426) Homepage Journal

    Here's what I sent them earlier on when discovering that part of the site even does not support Linux:

    I really can't believe you show such a big lack of understanding of your target audience. Dilbert & Co. are engineers. Engineers read Dilbert because of how much it reflects the silly issues they face every day when dealing with clueless managers, marketeers, etc. It helps them to have a smile on their face in the face of office misery.

    And then what do we get? A Dilbert site update that does not support Linux. In 2008. Guess what? Engineers use Linux. I've fought my PHBs for the right to do so back in 1999 and I won. About the whole department has been Linux-on-the-desktop ever since...

    My MBA (yes, I have one of those as well and yet I still use Linux) tells me that you're making a classical mistake of many companies that once were successful. Note the tense of that!

    April 17, 2008: A day that will live in infamy.

    And that's just one of my gripes. The new UI is clunky; the site is slow; ...

    • Re:No Linux? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lorenlal (164133) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:31PM (#23129590)
      And try going to the next strip....
      No previous or next button on any of the pages...

      BRILLIANT!
    • Well the site kinda works for me I guess, and I'm using some older version of ubuntu, but I don't know what you mean by "working".

      What still sucks is the browsing the strips, why not just add previous/next/random in? Dilberts website sucked before too, don't forget that.

      If you want something good, check out xkcd.com, the only thing I miss being better there is the archives.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mce (509) *
        For the non-working bit, try the animated strips section. I'd post a link, but for some reason I'm now seeing the old site again...
    • by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:08PM (#23129856) Homepage Journal
      BrianRegan.com got flashed a year or so back and I sent a complaint email (parts of it didn't work in Opera). Next thing I know, Brian used my first name for one of the dumber characters in a comic routine. So I'd suggest complaining anonymously...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:12PM (#23129434)
    Ought to make them think a little more carefully about extensive use of resource-heavy options such as Flash. :-)
  • Damn I'm good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:14PM (#23129450) Homepage Journal
    I must be a flippin mind reader or able to see into the future. I just wrote about [slashdot.org] this kind of nonsense.


    It's a freaking static cartoon! What possible asinine reason could there be to screw up such a simple concept? I saw this the other day and so, like Doonesbury, won't be visiting it any more due to their use of Flash.

    • Re:Damn I'm good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by _KiTA_ (241027) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:41PM (#23129688) Homepage

      I must be a flippin mind reader or able to see into the future. I just wrote about [slashdot.org] this kind of nonsense.



      It's a freaking static cartoon! What possible asinine reason could there be to screw up such a simple concept? I saw this the other day and so, like Doonesbury, won't be visiting it any more due to their use of Flash.

      Well, they do have this cool user-submitted "Mashup" system, where you can click on a Dilbert strip and re-write the punchline -- it's then put on a voting site where people can vote and comment on it. I thought that was brilliant, myself...

  • I just checked dillbert.com. There are only two flash images: Animation and the list of most popular comics.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:16PM (#23129472)
    It was probably some outside consultant that convinced them of the perceived need to produce a "competitive" web-site in today's market, and only this garbage will do.

    Don't these PHB clowns realize that it's content that draws people to a site, and excessive bandwidth, insecure plug-ins required, inane registration requirements, and slow downloads that drive them away again.

    Scott Adam's personal e-mail address is well-known (remember to put 'Dilbert' in the subject line to slip past his spam filter). One can still complain to him directly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816)

      Don't these PHB clowns realize that it's content that draws people to a site, and excessive bandwidth, insecure plug-ins required, inane registration requirements, and slow downloads that drive them away again.

      Oh, jeez, get over yourself.

      New content? That's exactly what they are providing. Most of the changes implement rich media (mainly animated cartoons) and user mashups. The results are pretty lame (corny voice acting and user-written punchlines are not my cup of tea), but it is new content. And it probably will grab a few new users from the Garfield crowd.

      Excessive bandwidth? They're not doing HD video, they're just doing a few simple flash applications. It's 2008, for crisakes. Next you'll be complaining th

  • non flash dilbert (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cromac (610264) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:17PM (#23129476)
    Good thing you can still get your dilbert fix at http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert/archive/ [unitedmedia.com]
  • It uses flash for the menu ... nuff said.
  • I for one am less annoyed than I otherwise would have been.

    Thanks, Microsoft?
  • ...embracing the new realities of intellectual property on the web.
    So I guess they don't want people e-mailing the current strip around at work anymore, if it is relevant to a manager or situation on the team. And they don't want people saving one out as desktop background, or keeping a copy of their favourite ones.

  • Damn, now I have to change my web-comic fetching script (it emails me when a new comic is uploaded) again. I already had to handle Dilbert as a special case since they would insert a seemingly random string of numbers in a seemingly random place in the image file name (e.g. instead of 20080419.gif 20081740960419.gif).
  • The only logical explanation is that the use of flash is a joke, and it is going over everybody's head. What else could explain the site doing in real life, exactly what the site is designed to make fun of?
  • People will start doing things like this more:

    #!/bin/bash
    PIC=`lynx -source dilbert.com|grep strip.print.gif|awk -F\" '{print "http://dilbert.com"$18}'`
    wget -O ~/dilbert.gif $PIC
    and put that in their crontab.
  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:35PM (#23129626) Homepage
    At Least it's not Silverlight...
  • by fermion (181285) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:44PM (#23129716) Homepage Journal
    Most person becomes that which they most rail against. More often than not, these people realize that those they railed against, for instance the PHB, were just doing things that they could not at that point understand. It has been interesting to see Scott Adams descend into the PHB. The PHB that is continuously coming up with new ways to make a profit, and has little concern with quality or application. Be it outsourcing to unqualified labour or redesigning a web site, the PHB is interested in earning, not customers or quality. This is why engineers have such trouble dealing with them. Engineers are taught that their job is to make the world better, and it is unethical to cut corners primarily to increase profits.

    SO, this website redesign proves that Dilbert has become the PHB. A design not help the customers or users, but to help the bottom line. How does it hep. Well, for one, it put Dilbert on the front page of /. after I don't know how long. It is an marketing gimmick, nothing more. Dilbert is irrelevant, and when one is irrelevent, there is little else to do but employ gimmicks. OTOH, I am sure it will work. Admas will sell some of his collected blog entries, people will reminisce about the good old days, and many will complain simply because they cannot understand that a business must generate a good profit.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:01PM (#23129818)
    The Dilbert site managers, responding to the overwhelmingly negative reaction by users to the recent Flash makeover, just announced that the Flash enhancements will be removed and replaced with Silverlight.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:06PM (#23129838)
    I flash MY dilbert and I get four months.
  • by Graftweed (742763) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:10PM (#23129870)
    The site is still perfectly functional and showing the strips using plain old .GIFs... *if* you use NoScript.

    Allow JavaScript to run and the whole thing blows up in your face and splatters flash everywhere.
  • Official RSS Feed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:11PM (#23129876)
    Quite amazingly, it seems no one has pointed out that there is now an official RSS feed (in colour) for Dilbert at http://feeds.feedburner.com/DilbertDailyStrip [feedburner.com]
  • by nguy (1207026) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @06:23PM (#23130394)
    They may have switched to Flash to make it a little harder to link to their content and to copy the images.
  • by STrinity (723872) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:03PM (#23130678) Homepage
    Everybody prefers Quicksilver over stodgy ol' Flash.
  • by chk89 (870935) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:32PM (#23130832) Homepage
    FYI, the whole site works on Linux, just use the User Agent Switcher plugin for Firefox and spoof yourself as IE7 on Windows. The animations portion works fine.

    On a side note, this is what is extremely frustrating about this really, the fact that they didn't limit it to Windows and Mac because of technical reasons, they ARTIFICIALLY limited it. This is actually worse in my opinion.
  • Less Sucktastic Page (Score:5, Informative)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:53PM (#23130974) Homepage Journal
    Try here. [xs4all.nl] Not flash and he apparently has every Dilbert ever since the beginning of time.

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